BOV to part ways with CEO Rick Hunkin / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 26 January 2022

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1745- Latest News update

Times of Malta says that former minister Konrad Mizzi declined to answer MP’s questions on Wednesday, walking out of a Public Accounts Committee hearing and then returning but stonewalling committee members.

MaltaToday says that Captain Morgan’s general manager Kevin Zammit Briffa has told a judge that the vessels used as an offshore detention centre for migrants had their registration changed from “passenger vessels” to “workboats” at around the same time that the company was engaged by government to house migrants.

Newsbook says that the Government has given in to pressure by lobbies to remove Covid restrictions as of next month, Medical Association of Malta (MAM) president Martin Balzan said.

TVM says that the Director for Information on Health and Research Dr Neville Calleja said that the Covid-19 death rate in our country is relatively stable.

Updated 1245 – Mid-Day Briefing

BOV CEO not to be retained after end of contract: Bank of Valletta’s CEO will not have his contract renewed after it comes to an end this year, with claims of a difficult relationship with senior management coupled with concerns of high fees paid on foreign consultancies. The decision was reportedly taken by Hunkin himself and the Board of Directors. A bank spokesperson told The Times of Malta, who revealed the story, that “in line with good succession planning and execution, the CEO and board have discussed and are implementing a succession plan which is intended to identify and put in place the best available talent in good time before the natural cessation of Mr Hunkin’s contract”.

Unemployment stable in December – NSO: The unemployment rate for December 2021 stood at 3.4% the NSO said today, remaining constant on the previous month and declining by 0.9% from December 2020. During December 2021, the number of unemployed persons was 9,693, with the unemployed males and the 25 to 74 age group being the major contributors to the overall level of unemployment. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed youths amounted to 2,545, whereas those aged between 25 and 74 years stood at 7,148, the NSO reported.

Covid-19 Update: 314 new cases were reported on Wednesday, while a higher number of recoveries (490) ensured that active cases continued to decline (4309). 101 patients are in hospital, six of whom in ITU. Two elderly men in their eighties passed away while Covid-19 positives, taking the death tally to 538.

Morning Briefing

Proof of vaccination requirement to be dropped

Proof of vaccination will no logner be required for entry into restaurants, snackbars and social clubs from February 7. This was announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne in Parliament on Tuesday evening. A week later the requirement will be dropped for bars, gyms, spas, pools, cinemas and theatres. However they will still be required for entry for mass events, sports events, gaming halls, night clubs and travel. Fearne also hinted that quarantine length may be reduced shortly and eventually eliminated completely. He attributed such measures to the fact that a high vaccination rate had been achieved.
The current restrictions had only been in force since Jan 17.

Pope Francis to visit on April 2-3

A number of media outlets on Tuesday evening reported that Pope Francis will visit Malta on 2nd and 3rd April. There was no official statement No official statement has yet been made but it is understood that both the President and the Prime Minister have confirmed the dates. Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit Malta after St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. It has been reported that the Vatican had expressed their wish for the pope’s visit to take place after the election so as not to give the impression of any undue political influence. This would therefore imply a March election is on the cards. The visit had originally been planned for 2020 but was postponed due to the onset of the pandemic. (Maltatoday/Times of Malta)

Covid-19 update: A total 323 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Tuesday, as another two men died while positive with the virus. The victims were aged 61 and 77. There were 542 recoveries.

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